Guild Wars 2: Raiding is Coming to Tyria…

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!

News for the Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns, appears to be rolling out at a much quicker pace in the last few weeks than it was earlier in the year. There were several Elite Specialization announcements, with the latest being the Daredevil as of writing this post, and there are still two more to be announced, but that is assuming you are going by the informational page on the Heart of Thorns site (here). The GW2  community seems to be pretty clear on what the Ranger specialization is (Druid/Staff), but have yet to be told what the full extent of the mechanics are. The largest announcement to be released by ArenaNet, so far, is the introduction of Raids in Heart of Thorns.

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Let’s Raid!

What are raids in Guild Wars 2?

Similar to other MMOs, raids are instanced content designed to pit a group of players against massive bosses with crazy mechanics, enforce coordination to achieve success, and most of the usual things you would expect from raids. However, players shouldn’t expect to just be standing in place beating on a massive health bar. Since this is Guild Wars 2, players will need to concern themselves with positioning, managing their use of dodge and movement skills, adjusting their builds for certain encounters, and maintaining a high level of skill and focus to survive the encounters and properly support their party. The raids will utilize GW2’s action combat and dynamic event systems to create a variety of unique experiences to challenge its raiders.

One important design decision behind raids in Guild Wars 2 is the number of players they support. Raids in GW2 will be designed around 10-player raid groups. I find this interesting because it is a nice compromise between giving players larger group sizes than dungeons typically allow, but not forcing raids to require group sizes so large that it becomes increasingly difficult to coordinate everyone involved. Additionally, by only requiring 10 players to participate in a raid, more players can actually get into raids and enjoy the content than if raids required 20 or 40 players. In my opinion, this is a really good design decision by ArenaNet.

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Challenging Conventions!

So, what is Guild Wars 2 doing differently with raids?

Raiding in Guild Wars 2 will be different from raiding in every other MMORPG ever due to a single, massively important design decision; GW2 will not be following the World of Warcraft model of making content irrelevant with updates to the game. Raiding in GW2 will not be about chasing gear in order to be strong enough for the next raid. Players can’t out-gear the oldest raids because there will not be a gear treadmill. Huge pieces of content that took months of development time and a great deal amount of money to create won’t be made absolutely worthless because of an increase in the games level cap, because ArenaNet will not be raising the cap above level 80.

This design decision goes back to one of those key phrases that the ArenaNet team likes to use repeatedly; challenging conventions. While the use of this phrase may come in second to their overuse of the word “dynamic”, it’s very clear that ArenaNet’s take on raiding will be a wholly different approach than those that have been over-emulating World of Warcraft. Raiding in Guild Wars 2 will be about conquering the content, and those that do won’t have their efforts made meaningless because of a higher tier of gear or increased level cap. This is just a smarter design philosophy, and works better for a game that is supposed to be supported, updated, and expanded for at least a decade. What’s the point of adding content that you’re just going to make irrelevant in the next expansion ( cough Garrisons cough )?

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Wait! There’s More…

There are a few more details regarding raiding in Guild Wars 2 that need to be mentioned before bringing this post to a close. These details are as follows:

  • There will be no attunement required to gain access to the raids. This is both a good thing, and bad. In Guild Wars 2, an attunement could have been more than just a list of pointless, random objectives. There could have been a short, story-driven “quest” to give narrative context for the dungeons existence or explaining the reason why the player’s character is going into the dungeon. While players are capable of getting into the open raids as soon as they can gather 10 players together, don’t expect to be able to successfully conquer every encounter immediately.
  • The Mastery system will play into how players progress through raids. Players will be required to unlock certain Mastery traits in order to successfully conquer certain encounters. For instance (pun not intended), in the raid announcement trailer the raid group is shown jumping off the boss platform avoiding a massive attack, using their gliders to reach updrafts, and then gracefully returning onto the platform.
  • Players will be able to unlock a set of raid-specific masteries. In addition to the masteries for gliding, mushroom jumping, etc, Guild Wars 2 will also be shipping with additional masteries which are specifically tied to the raids. This could easily create some compelling depth in the raid content that isn’t available elsewhere.

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Well, there you have it, folks! Raiding in Guild Wars 2 is shaping up to be an incredibly unique experience. ArenaNet is clearly paying attention to the pitfalls of expanding an MMORPG by looking at the development of other games in the genre, and is deeming the many common design choices made by those games to be unfit for the future of Guild Wars 2. There will be no gear grind keeping players from reaching the next raid or raid wing that becomes available, and no level cap increase to make the efforts of the Guild Wars 2 community meaningless. ArenaNet is challenging conventions in spite of the many who follow those same conventions. I only wish that they had challenged the convention of having an unnecessarily high level cap. That would have been great.

What do you think of raiding in Guild Wars 2 so far? Are you excited to finally be able to raid in Guild Wars 2? Is your guild already preparing raid teams? Join the discussion below.

For more Guild Wars 2 content, be sure to check out BogOtter’s YouTube channel. For videos specifically relating to raiding in Guild Wars 2, check out this video and this other video on BogOtter’s channel.

For the Guild Wars 2 blog posts related to raiding, you can head here and over here.

If you have any questions for me, or have some ideas for topics you’d like me to cover, you can leave a comment below or head over to my shiny semi-new-ish Contact page.

Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.

War Fist out.

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